As far as I can tell, there are two types people in this world: those who like caraway seeds in their rye bread, and those who don’t. I fall into the former camp, and have been pining for the perfect caraway rye bread recipe for years.
Part of this stems from my love affair with reuben sandwiches, or should I say, sauerkraut and rye bread, because to me, those are the two ingredients that make a reuben sandwich (and which enable me to continue eating “reuben sandwiches” even though I ruled out pastrami and other meat products from my diet over 15 years ago).
But wasn’t I talking about rye bread? Yes, rye sandwich bread specifically (not the super dark pumpernickel variety, delicious in its own right, but which has its place in other posts).
A good rye sandwich bread is a little dense, a little sour, and definitely speckled with caraway. My longing has inspired several batches of sourdough, and several subsequent loaves of fairly average bread. Perhaps I’ll have to wait til my next trip to London or New york for a traditional “Jewish Rye”.
Or do I? A recipe for Quick Rye Bread in this week’s Guardian suggests it’s possible to create good rye sandwich bread without sourdough and without a commercial oven. This morning I put the recipe to the test.
The recipe is pretty easy – mix up some stuff, knead it, let it rise, and then – here is the quick part – flip out the dough onto a pre-heated baking sheet and bake. No second rise? Sounded dubious.
Upon flipping the dough onto the baking sheet, it deflated significantly and had, at best, moderate “oven spring” after baking for 40 minutes (10 minutes longer than the recipe called for, and it was still underdone).
So the loaf was a little dense, and only slightly undercooked in the middle, but the flavour was right and I look forward to trying this again over the weekend. I want to find a way to put the dough into the oven without disturbing it. Perhaps I will give in to my gut feeling and give it a second rise – if only for an hour or so.
I will forgo posting the recipe until I feel good about it, but please try it out for yourselves and let me know if you have any pointers:
Since we’re on the subject of rye bread, I must share with you one of my favorite, reuben-inspired sandwich creations. Strange but true:
Smoked Tofu and Cabbage Sandwich
I saute the cabbage with onions and caraway seeds until its really soft and delicious, then add a splash of vinegar (balsamic is good here). Then I heat up the tofu and toast some rye bread. Sandwich consisits of (in this order): bread, avocado, salt, pepper, tomato, smoked tofu, pickles, jalapeno, cabbage. Sounds weird. Tastes awesome.